15 GOTO Schools for the Best Programming Jobs

LinkedIn data reveals which schools have the most graduates working as software developers for the most desirable employers

Statue of a graduate holding a diploma
Credit: squeakybb

Software developers from just about any school are likely to get a good job these days, but not all companies are equally desirable places for programmers to work. LinkedIn recently analyzed education and employment trends for 300 million users and identified the schools with the most graduates working for the most "desirable" employers (i.e., the best ones at attracting and retaining employees) in various professions.

Using these data from LinkedIn, here at the top 15 schools that budding coders should aim to attend to maximize their chances of working for the best companies. We’ve also noted other famous tech alumni, as well as the expected financial ROI on a computer science degree from each school.

Geisel Library at UCSD
15. University of California, San Diego

Top employers for alumni: Google, Qualcomm, Amazon, Microsoft

Notable tech alumni: Bud Tribble and Bill Atkinson, members of the development team for the original Macintosh

Annual ROI for CS degree: 17.2%

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 11th

Sources: LinkedIn, PayScale

Brown’s Robinson Hall
14. Brown University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Eliot Horowitz, co-founder of MongoDBAndy Hertzfeld, member of original Macintosh development teamJohn Tukey, coined the terms bit and software

Annual ROI for CS degree: Not available

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: Not available

Sources: LinkedIn

The Tower at UT Austin
13. The University of Texas at Austin

Top employers for alumni: IBM, Google, Microsoft, Amazon

Notable tech alumnus: Michael Dell, founder of Dell Computers

Annual ROI for CS degree: 14.5% (in-state), 9.5% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 44th (in-state), 233rd (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus
12. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM

Notable tech alumni: Brendan Eichcreator of JavaScriptLarry Ellisonfounder of OracleMarc Andreessen, co-founder of Netcape; Steve Chen, co-founder of YouTubeMax Levchin, co-founder of PayPal

Annual ROI for CS degree: 14.7% (in-state), 11.1% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 39th (in-state), 160th (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Royce Hall at UCLA
11. University of California, Los Angeles

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Symantec, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Vint Cerf, co-creator of TCP/IP; Steve Crocker,member of the team that developed ARAPANET protocols, Paul Baran, devised the concept of packet-switching networks

Annual ROI for CS degree: 17% (in-state), 11.2% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 13th (in-state), 158th (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Stanford’s Hoover Tower
9. (Tie) Stanford University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Oracle, Apple, Microsoft

Notable tech alumni: Bill Hewett and Dave Packard, founders of Hewlett-Packard, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, founders of Google; Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, co-founders of PayPal

Annual ROI for CS degree: 17.4%

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 8th

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Burton Tower at the University of Michigan
9. (Tie) University of Michigan

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Amazon, IBM

Notable tech alumni: Frances Allen, first female winner of the Turing AwardLarry Page, co-founder of GoogleSid Meier, creator of CivilizationDick Costolo, CEO of Twitter; Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun MicrosystemsThomas Knoll, co-creator of Adobe Photoshop

Annual ROI for CS degree: 17.2% (in-state), 10.6% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 36th (in-state), 185th (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Duke Chapel at Duke University
8. Duke University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; John Chambers, CEO of Cisco

Annual ROI for CS degree: Not available

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: Not available

Sources: LinkedIn

The University of Washington campus
Credit: James Brooks
7. University of Washington

Top employers for alumni: Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Facebook

Notable tech alumni: Bud Tribble and Bill Atkinson, members of the development team for the original Macintosh; Tim Paterson, creator of QDOS, which became the basis for MS-DOS

Annual ROI for CS degree: 19.3% (in-state), 12.9% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 2nd (in-state), 89th (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Sather Tower at UCal Berkeley
6. University of California, Berkeley

Top employers for alumni: Google, Oracle, Apple, Microsoft

Notable tech alumni: Jay Miner, creator of Amiga computerEric Allman, creator of sendmail; George Crow; member of the development team for the original Macintosh; Spencer Kimball and Peter Mattis, creators of GIMP

Annual ROI for CS degree: 17.7% (in-state), 12.4% (out-of-state)

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 4th (in-state), 108th (out-of-state)

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Princeton University campus
Credit: jschauma
Princeton University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Alan Turing, the "Father of Computer Science"; John Kemeny, co-creator of BASIC; Brian Kernighan, co-creator of AWK

Annual ROI for CS degree: Not available

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: Not available

Sources: LinkedIn

MIT’s Stata Center
4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Top employers for alumni: Google, Oracle, Microsoft, IBM

Notable tech alumni: Bill Hewettco-ounder of Hewlett-Packard; Ken Olsenfounder of Digital Equipment CorporationBob Metcalfe, creator of Ethernet; Ray Stata and Matthew Lorber, co-founders of Analog Devices

Annual ROI for CS degree: 15.5%

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 24th

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Cornell’s Central Campus
3. Cornell University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Steven Sinofsky, former head of Windows division at MicrosoftDouglas McIlroy, creator of Unix pipes

Annual ROI for CS degree: 13.8%

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 66th

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Millikan Library at Caltech
2. Caltech

Top employers for alumni: Google, Oracle, Microsoft, Facebook

Notable tech alumni: Donald Knuth, author of The Art of Computer ProgrammingJohn McCarthy, creator of LISP; Ivan Sutherland, creator of Sketchpad; Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel

Annual ROI for CS degree: Not available

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: Not available

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

CMU’s Hamerschlag Hall
1. Carnegie Mellon University

Top employers for alumni: Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Amazon

Notable tech alumni: Andy Bechtolsheim and Vinod Khosla co-founders of Sun MicrosystemsCharles Geschkeco-founder of Adobe SystemsIvan Sutherlandcreator of Sketchpad

Annual ROI for CS degree: 12.3%

Overall rank among U.S. schools based on ROI: 112th

Sources: LinkedInPayScale

Signing saying The best of the rest
The best of the rest

Here are the rest of LinkedIn’s top 25 schools for software developers:

16. Harvard University

17. Rice University

18. University of Pennsylvania

19. University of Arizona

20. Harvey Mudd College

21. The University of Texas at Dallas

22. San Jose State University

23. University of Southern California

24. Washington University in St. Louis

25. Rochester Institute of Technology